Bloom!

Tulip poplar is in bloom! That is not my hand or my picture 🙂

At one of the recent bee meetings, the speaker was Wayne Esaias who is the President of the Maryland State Beekeepers Association and also a scientist with NASA. He has been tracking honey bee behavior with climate change and the concurrent shift in nectar flow. Research and satellite imagery has shown that nectar flows have advanced by .58 days per year since 1970. They also found that one degree increase in temperature results in a 1 week earlier bloom.

Several interesting observations:

-Though the nectar flow starts earlier, the bloom period is the same. Plants do not extend their bloom since their bloom period is hard-wired.

-One month advance in spring nectar flows means 2 more months of high consumption rates compared to normal and this results in lower total yield.

-We should be supering our hives mid-March!

-An egg laid after March 15th has little contribution to colony yield

-Africanized Honey Bees rely on 2 nectar flows. Those states with one nectar flow do not have AFB but those states that have 2 nectar flows, do. Isn’t that interesting? So I wonder if climate warming will hasten the spread of AFB?

It was a very interesting talk, he even had satellite pictures of the “greening up” (Spring) and “browning down” (Fall) of the US.

Check out the site on NASA, it has interesting information on honey bee forage: honeybeenet and the scale hives they’re using to track the nectar flow. I found a scale hive right next to me, I wish they had real-time hive weights available then I could really know when the flow was on!

I found this site as well, even if you’re not a beekeeper you can still help: BudBurst

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